The neuro-protective and tissue-protective properties of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) have been demonstrated through treating bilateral cavernous nerve (CN) injury in rats, although the underlying mechanisms have not been fully clarified.
To determine factors released from PRP and explore their role in mediating preservation of erectile function (EF) in a rat model of CN injury.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats (aged 10 weeks) were used in this study. 6 rats were used to obtain blood for PRP and whole plasma preparation. We probed samples using a cytokine antibody array and performed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We determined the expression patterns of C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 5 (CXCL5) and receptors in the major pelvic ganglion (MPG) and corpus cavernosum via immunostaining. 32 rats were divided into 4 groups based on the type of injection received: (i) sham, (ii) vehicle, (iii) 400 μL of PRP, and (iv) 30 ng/kg of CXCL5. Groups 2-4 were subjected to bilateral CN crush (BCNC) injury. 4 weeks later, EF was assessed by CN electrostimulation, and CNs and penile tissue were collected for histological analysis.
Cytokine antibody array, ELISA, erectile response, and immunofluorescence staining readings.
The PRP contained high levels of CXCL5. MPG neurons expressed CXCL5 and CXCR2. PRP intracavernous injection stabilized CXCR2 and increased CXCL5 expression in the MPG after BCNC, thus enhancing neuroprotection. CXCL5 injection improved BCNC-induced erectile dysfunction by preventing smooth muscle atrophy.
The therapeutic efficacy of PRP in CN injury-induced erectile dysfunction may arise from the synergy among multiple biomolecules. Our study serves as a basis for future studies on PRP formulation to provide safe and effective medications for the maintenance of EF after radical prostatectomy in patients with prostate cancer.
A strength of our study is that our model was able to isolate the role of cytokines, specifically CXCL5, as part of the mechanism responsible for PRP’s protective properties. However, the rat cytokine array provided limited experimental targets. The rats used were not at the age corresponding to prostate cancer patients in clinical settings. Our study did not explore CXCL5 blocking in the PRP group. Finally, the main protein quantification results by western blotting were hampered because of small tissue samples.
This study provides evidence for the role of CXCL5 and CXCR2 as mediators of PRP effects in the preservation of EF after CN injury. Wu YN, Liao CH, Chen KC, et al. CXCL5 Cytokine Is a Major Factor in Platelet-Rich Plasma’s Preservation of Erectile Function in Rats After Bilateral Cavernous Nerve Injury. J Sex Med 2021;XX:XXX-XXX.